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Design for a sump pump pit

A sump pump removes water from basements and other areas that are prone to flooding. A sump pump pit is designed to hold the sump pump, allow water to accumulate so the pump float can turn the pump on and off as needed and prevent debris from accumulating in the sump pump pit and interfere with the pump's function.

Sump Pump Pit Location

Locate the sump pump pit in the lowest area of the basement, crawl space or other area that requires drainage. A location next to a wall reduces the amount of drainage hose required to run the line out of the area. The drainage hose must be located far enough away from the sump pump pit that the water pumped out of the area does not flow back into the area.

Create the pit away from any possible underground drain or utility lines. Your local municipality office will be able to help you determine the location of any potential drain or utility lines. It is extremely important to locate these lines before digging, especially if concrete must be removed to install the sump pump pit.

The discharge line may be run into a storm sewer if allowed by local codes. Contact your local municipal office for information about local regulations regarding discharge lines for sump pumps. Be sure the water from the discharge line is not draining the water too close to the foundation of other buildings.

Sump Pump Pit Design

A hole with a large bucket or plastic barrel surrounded by 4 inches of gravel on the bottom and sides provides adequate drainage and allows the sump pump float to move freely to turn the sump pump off and on as needed based on the water level inside the bucket. In a soil floor, such as a crawl space, dig an area as wide and deep as the bucket. Dig an additional 4 inches below the bucket and sides. The circumference of the hole will be 8 inches wider than the container.

Pour 4 inches of gravel into the bottom of the hole.

If the bucket is solid, drill holes halfway down all the way around the bucket for water to seep into the bucket. Do not drill holes in the lower half of the bucket so enough water can accumulate to cause the float on the sump pump to lift and turn the pump on as needed.

Place the bucket on the gravel bed centred in the hole. Fill the 4-inch space surrounding the bucket with gravel. The gravel prevents soil and debris from entering the sump pump pit.

A sump pump pit installed in a concrete floor will require the concrete to be removed from the area where the sump pump will be placed. Use a small jack hammer that may be rented from a local home improvement centre. A hammer drill may also be used. However, a hammer drill will require more time to cut through the concrete. The hole in the concrete should be 8 inches larger than the circumference of the container that will hold the sump pump.

Pour a 4-inch layer of gravel in the hole. Place the bucket on the gravel in the centre of the hole. Drill holes into the bucket as with a dirt floor. Pour gravel into the 4-inch space surrounding the bucket.

The top of the gravel surrounding the bucket can be finished with concrete to match the existing concrete floor. When adding gravel to the space surrounding the sides of the bucket, fill to 4 inches below the existing concrete floor surface. Mix concrete and fill the 4-inch space with concrete and level will the existing floor.

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About the Author

Emily Patterson has been creating content for websites since 1996. She specializes in home improvement, natural body care and natural cleaning articles. Patterson holds a computing certificate from Penn State University.